Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Above is another photo of the fine old house beside Cockfield churchyard.
Today has been a long day. Up betimes to attend the early morning communion service at which, it turned out, Ann was deaconing (bit of a muddle which eventually got sorted). Breakfast in Church, then home, just as well as post came rather early for once. Back to Hilary's by ten for U3A Scrabble Club, which Hilary was hosting. Hilary left at eleven a.m. for a funeral service in which she was assisting. Ann called in at Hilary's for me at eleven thirty, and we walked round to St. Mary's (only about a hundred yards from Hilary's house) also to attend the funeral service for John, a friend of ours, who, with his wife Leslie, retired to our town about three years ago. Their daughter Clare, her husband Jonathon (who is now our organist) and their son Oliver, had moved to our area a year or two before that. Since then Leslie has become one of our Churchwardens, and Jon, as I said, has become our Church organist. They have settled in and become a real part of our community very quickly, especially for Suffolk, where it is said that no one is considered a native until they've got a granny buried in the churchyard. It seemed very hard therefore when, less than a year ago, John, who was a very fit and active seventy three year old, was found to have leukemia; from which he died ten days ago. Today his son-in-law Jon played the organ at his funeral, and his daughter Clare gave the eulogy, together with her brother (in New Zealand but on a large screen - he has spent a lot of time over here lately with his parents- but was unable to get back for the funeral). It was a very moving funeral, and we finally got back, around three o'clock, from the post funeral get together, which was held at Clare and Jon's house, a mile away in the next village.
When we got home I nipped upstairs to get out of the subfusc funeral clobber, and before climbing into me workshop rig, decided to get me head down for ten minutes. I was awoken, an hour and a half later, by Ann, with, bless 'er, a cup of tea. Since then pottered in my workshop. As I said - been a long day.
The above item (well the top one, not the quid below it) arrived in the post this morning, having been purchased on ebay. It's an inch and a half long, and is made of brass and steel. It's today's mystery item. It was described on ebay as a snuff box, which it isn't.
I'm sorry about the slightly fuzzy photo. Still trying to get the hang of the new camera.
Monday, 20 May 2013
First of all, I must apologise for the sorry mess I made of my blog entry for yesterday. I don't know how I managed to duplicate all those photographs. It had been a lovely day, but at the end of it I was too tired to try and correct the mess, so I published it as it was and went to bed. Now I'm going to try and straighten things out by showing the same pictures and commenting on them. Should explain that we took the A14 back from Cambridgeshire into Suffolk, turned off at Bury St. Edmund's, then took what Ann calls 'the pretty way' home. Even then we decided to take a turn off the back road that we weren't too sure about, and eventually found ourselves in the Cockfield/ Thorpe Morieux area.
The house above is a Thatched farmhouse. It's worth enlarging to have a good look at the thatching detail along the roof ridge. It's a house that has been well looked after over the centuries.
Above is a house that has steadily come down hill over the centuries. Built as a 'hall dwelling' in the 1300/1400s. Probably with a central hearth fireplace originally, it was prosperous enough to have a solid Tudor chimney installed in the 1500s. At some stage, probably in the 1700/1800s it has been converted into a row of labourers' cottages, and in the first half of the 1900s has suffered the final indignity of having its peg tiled, or possibly thatched, roof removed and given a corrugated iron roof instead. However, someone is now spending a fair amount of money on restoring the building into a home. I hope its story has a happy ending- No! not an ending- a good continuation.
Cockfield Church, with a lovely building to the right and a possibly even better one to the left (see next photo but one).
A closer look at Cockfield Church, to which we must return for a better look round. Ann says we have been over it in the past (I think she's right), but it looks well worth a second visit.
You can see why we enjoy living in Suffolk. We usually find that almost any lane or back road is worth exploring.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Up early this morning and to early service. Home then ran two of the older choir members to church (Hilary wil be taking them home. Then at eleven o'clock motored over to Quy Mill in Cambridge shire for lunch. Met up there, as arranged, with Sarah and Mikey, together with their two younger offspring Lucy and Guy. Got very helpful young waitress to take above photograph of us all. Had a small dining room to ourselves, with a view of the millstream outside. Food was, as usual here, excellent. I had roast beef (Sirloin) and yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes, roast parsnips and carrots, cauliflower cheese, gravy, and horseradish sauce. Ann had roast chicken with similar accoutrements (bar, of course, horseradish sauce). Can't remember what the rest of them had, but it all looked pretty good. Mikey and I opted for Eton strawberry mess, which sounds revolting, but was in fact a very pleasant light pudding, being composed of broken up meringue, chunks of strawberry, and thick cream. Then on to coffee (mine, on Doctor's orders, being decaff). We picked up on all the family gossip, Sarah and I finished off yesterday's Prize Telegraph crossword puzzle, and in fact we sat and chatted until nearly four o'clock (very well trained, or possibly naturally good natured, staff at the Mill, in that nobody tried to hurry us). Lovely meal in great company!! Who could ask for more.
On the way home took a good many photos of Suffolk buildings. Looking at said photos I seem to have made rather a muddle and duplication of them. Sorry, I'm a little fatigued (polite for 'cream crackered'). Generally speaking they're the mixture as before, and I think I'll leave you to sort them out. Might make it clearer tomorrow. Goodnight.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
We have been having the house painted. Jordan, pictured with Ann, outside our house, is doing the job, which is nearing completion. He is a very conscientious worker, self employed, and trying to build up a one man business. He deserves to succeed in this. It's nice to meet a young man who so obviously takes a pleasure, and a pride in his work.
Today we motored over to Wisbech to have a natter to our accountant. We've been discussing (Ann and meself that is) the possibility of my retiring. This came up when I had that pest of a heart attack in March. My considered (and, I'm afraid, often stated) opinion is that antique dealers do NOT retire. They simply, as the years advance, become steadily more in keeping with their stock. Anyway, Elizabeth has been my accountant since (I think) 1978, and during those years has become a personal friend of both of us. So today we gave her lunch at the Red Lion on the North Brink in Wisbech and discussed the matter. She gave us her usual well considered opinion. This, when boiled down, seemed to be that there is no hurry to decide; and that any decision need not be final, anyway. Eventually we adjourned to the pub car park, handed over the books for this last year, and parted with mutual expressions of esteem.
We then popped into Wisbech to call on 96 year old cousin Sid, and spent half an hour with him- he looks after himself, and, although having had half a leg amputated last year seems to be pretty spry still.
Then pottered round Wisbech, and took the below three photos.
This one is of the Museum, which I used a good deal as a reference library when I was a boy. It hasn't altered much since then, or indeed since the 1830s when it was founded. Ann's (several greats) grandfather, John Peck, helped to set it up. It's a lovely, early museum, and, in my opinion, should be in a museum.
Above is Wisbech Castle. It's not a castle now, but a private house, with a lovely great circle of a garden, behind the house. It's in the centre of the Crescent in Wisbech. Bit like a smaller version of the Cresent in Bath, but a complete circle, in two halves.
Ann standing at the start of the Crescent in Museum Square. The Crescent stands on what was The Castle in Wisbech - hence Castle House- above. Bad King John (gnash, gnash, curses, curses) dined at Wisbech Castle a few days before his death, made a pig of himself, and it was here that he probably indulged in the celebrated 'surfeit of lampreys', or peaches, or whatever, of which he died, in the year 1216 - or so it is believed in this area.
Good night All.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
These are photographs of a narrow boat holiday we took in May of 1988 with two friends of ours Brenda and Warren. It is by special request of Rog (who has, I fear, strange tastes). The first three photos were taken as we crossed the Pontcysyllte (I don't know HOW that is pronounced before anyone asks) Viaduct over the river Dee, one hundred and twenty six feet below us. Warren, who was driving, wanted a photograph of himself, so I climbed onto the roof of the narrow boat, stood up, faced the blunt end of the vessel and took the above photo.
I then turned round, faced the sharp end, and took this photo, where Ann (on the right) and Brenda, were enjoying the view.
Then, leaning over sideways, I took the above photo of the river Dee, rushing along 126 feet below us.
Above is a photo of your blogger (I used to shave me chin then), driving the boat. In fact, when we returned, I drove the boat back across the Viaduct (and I have the certificate to prove it).
Above is a picture of Ann driving the boat. She thoroughly enjoyed it, but like me, found it hard to get used to a speed of three miles per hour.
One other incident I must record, is that when we tied up at Llangollen, I walked into the town, found an antique shop I knew of, and purchased a lovely little round Welsh cricket table. The turned, heavily chamfered table top (the chamfer being to the underside of the table top) was three inches thick, and of elm (which is, in my opinion, the most underrated of our native woods); the three legs were of ash. It was of late eighteenth century date, and was a most charming example of naively rustic furniture. I carried it back to the boat. Now, at this point I must stress that we had followed the advice of a friend when hiring the boat and hired a bigger one than needed; in fact for the four of us we'd hired a six berth boat, and even then there wasn't that much spare space. However I was surprised that the other three accorded my little table such a cold reception. Even Ann, who rather liked the table said that there really wasn't room for it, whilst both Brenda and Warren were very reluctant to have it on board. I put up a spirited defence of the table, pointing out that if we decided to hold a dinner party on board, of say six people or so, we would be jolly glad of a spare table to accommodate them. After a somewhat acrimonious discussion it was decided that if the table came aboard, it must stay in the sleeping space allocated to Michael. I must admit that over the next few nights I got to know that little table very well. However, when we finally got home, I took the table along to an antique dealer we knew, who specialised in early country furniture, and who raved over it, bought it, and the profit on it paid for our part of the hire of the narrow boat; so I didn't regret buying it. Thinking about the matter though, I rather regret parting with the table; it was a little beauty!
Monday, 13 May 2013
Went to a funeral today. Odd thing - we have to go to another funeral next week too. Both men were friends of ours, both were around seventy, and both died from leukemia.
The service today was held at Halstead Crematorium. After the Service we went back to the post service get together, which was held at John's old home at Sible Hedingham in North Essex. Whilst we both love Suffolk, we agreed that there is a lot to be said for the scenery and buildings of North Essex. I know Essex is supposed to be one of the more boring counties, but people who hold this view without knowing Essex, might be pleasantly surprised by a lot of the north Essex area.
To support that last statement I produce the three above photos taken through the car windscreen whilst running into Sible Hedingham from the South. The whole town has a seedy, run down look to it, but if you look at the three photos I think you'll agree that, given a lick of paint and some T.L.C., (tender, loving, care Lori) all the above buildings are handsome examples of early English architecture. I rests me case.
Good night All.
Sunday, 12 May 2013
These photos record a nice, quiet Sunday with the Horners. The above two show us relaxing, having found we've got ten minutes to spare before setting off for morning service (where Ann was Deaconing). Home about one in the afternoon, lunch, a quick zizz, into workshop scruff, then down to workshop to finish off a couple of odd jobs.
The weather this last week/ten days has been ideal - mainly bright sunshine during the day, and the occasional heavy shower at night, all of which suits the garden nicely, as it does me. However, when Ann called me up for a cuppa at about five o'clock, I found it was dull, rainy, and cold. So I lit the fire, and we relaxed over tea, lemon drizzle cake (Ann's), and finished off (with some help -swapped clues- on telephone- from up the road neighbour, Sheila) yesterday's Telegraph prize crossword.
Drawing room fire - Cedric enjoying this rare fireside treat (bottom right corner of photo).
Now back in undercroft workshop to do a bit more work.
Thursday, 9 May 2013
Ref previous blog entry - job done. It's taken me almost exactly eight hours to do. The dial itself is, of course English, but was made in late Victorian days. Well made; so that accurate time can be read. My problem now is that if I charge for my eight hours at whatever the minimum wage rate is, the price will be rather more than the sundial is worth! The owner is a knowledgeable collector of antiques. Advice please. Shan't be able to deliver the dial until early July.
Back to clocks - well nearly. I spent yesterday afternoon drawing, cutting out, and lightly engraving a gnomon. If I get the job finished today, I'll show you.
Mem: never chuck out old brass door plates; you never know when you'll need one to make a gnomon.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Thought it might be of interest to see the major job I did last week. Once again I wish I'd remembered to take 'before' photos. When I first saw the above box, I saw a nice quality, but fairly battered, 19th century, well marked rosewood box. The lock was (and is still) missing, and the first thing I had to do was make the shield shaped keyhole escutcheon from a scrap of sheet brass .
The box contained a pair of percussion pocket pistols of nice quality, probably made in Northern France a few years either side of 1830, and a similarly dated, nice quality French pistol sized powder flask. The other contents were scraps of wood, tattered pieces of green baize, and one of the lids to a corner compartment with a brass knob (the one to the top left of the case). I'd got a large piece of green baize left over from the last time I had to repair a gun case, so that was no problem. The wood to make the compartment dividers was a bit of a problem, but again, a couple of old cigar boxes were pressed into service.
The photo above shows the end result. I have a distinct feeling that at some stage in its long career the cased pair were given to a child to play with. A nice thing too, for a boy (?) to have; and to give the child his due, the pistols have survived his efforts in fairly good condition, and, after a good clean, are still fit for service. The box however was in a real mess!!! The whole thing took me about three and a half days, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. It was a restful job, and for someone who usually works in iron, or brass (or occasionally silver - which is a doddle, as I sometimes tell my junior- brother- in law, a silversmith), it is really rather therapeutic to sit and shape thin wood, and snip and glue bits of green baize into position.
See, I am taking it easy, as per instructions.
Monday, 6 May 2013
Ann preparing last night's Dinner. I'm still not sure about what I should call this meal. These days 'dinner' seems a bit pretentious, and 'supper' seems to do it less than justice. Probably 'evening meal' is about right.
Same meal at table - roast chicken with roast vegetables. Very good, too.
Been busy this last few days - hence lack of blog entries. Sorry. The next two photos are of a musket I've been cleaning up. It's about to be collected by its new owner. Not really a mystery item, but if I give you a couple of lines of a well known poem, I wonder if anyone can complete the couplet with the name of the arm? The poem ends -
"and if ever we English had reason to bless
any arm, save our mother's,
that arm is .................................."
I think Rog will know. And I'm sure Crowbard will be able to trace it.
If you enlarge this photo you should be able to see the crowned G.R. (for George III) on the middle of the lock plate, with 'Tower' across the tail of the lockplate, indicating the Tower of London. Bit more later, if I've time after dinner - sorry- the evening meal.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Been a good, fairly busy, day. Set out at 8.30. a.m. and drove to the Long Melford monthly Antique Fair. Drove past the above lovely old building -medieval - and 'improved' over the last century, but a handsome old place for all that. Bought a nice pair of eighteenth century candlesticks, English and engraved (rare), circa 1780. 'Keepies', and according to our usual rule, as there are already a pair on the mantelshelf where these will now live, the pair there will now move into the 'stock' category. Drove home to get to the surgery by midday, where I was due to give yet another blood sample (because I'm now on Warfarin for the duration). Then back home by 12.30 p.m. where we were due to meet friends Cath and Derek. The four of us drove back to Hollow Trees Farm shop, where we shared a (very good) sandwich lunch, at one of the tables outside the restaurant, in the sun, and caught up on all the news. Cath had an appointment in Norwich at 4p.m so they left us at threeish to give themselves time. Good to see them.
Above and below are snapshots of the garden in the sun, and now looking thoroughly springlike.
Below is a photo of the flowers that Cath and Derek brought Ann. They are beautiful.
Ann has been doing rather well for flowers this week. Below is a lovely bunch of flowers that our ex neighbours John and Jo (and their three year old daughter Freja) brought Ann earlier in the week, to thank her for giving them lunch on the day they moved out, about ten days ago. We both thought that was very sweet of them. We've moved house a good many times ourselves, and it's always a pest to have to stop and make a meal in the middle of the removal.
Oh well, bedtime approaches, so I wish you all a very Good Night.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Yesterday (Saturday) we decided to motor over to Mistley for lunch. We called in at a Garden Centre on the way (part of the grounds shown above) and bought three plants for the garden.
We then drove on to the dribbling swan (above). The sick (?) swan is of iron and looks rather Victorian. The impressive terrace of cottages behind the swan backs on to Mistley Quay. We lunched in the warehouse looking building to the extreme left of the photo. It has a small restaurant on the upper floor, which looks out over the estuary to Suffolk. We had our usual good lunch there, but were told that the restaurant is going to close and move some miles south and west. This distance will then probably be outside our lunch range. Pity.
Drove over to Flatford Mill, where we saw the above Bull nosed Morris. Talked to it's owner who had just driven it there to a rally. Ann wanted to include the owner in the photo, but being a chap (and therefore rather modest and retiring as we chaps tend to be) he declined gracefully, but said that we were very welcome to photograph the equipage, which we did.
Photographed the above Tudor farmhouse just the Essex side of the border.
Took the photo of a medieval manor house somewhere near East Bergholt, when it had just started to rain. A couple of miles later the rain had turned to SLEET. What a daft long winter and spring this has been.
Woke this morning to a hard white frost and a bright, clear blue, sky!!!!
I wish my readers a very Good Night.