Monday, 29 September 2014


We've just spent the weekend with Sarah, Mikey, Lucy and Guy; and a very pleasant weekend it was. On Sunday, yesterday, Mikey ran us across to a Stately Home he's just discovered (Castle Ashby) and which I didn't know of. We passed the above farmhouse on the way there. Can't remember where it was, but it's a lovely little farmhouse (about the same age as our house) and the way both chimneys leaned to the left made me feel better about our leaning Tudor chimneys.

Above photo is of the place we were heading for (Mikey warned us that the house isn't open on Sundays) but the gardens were, and were well worth while a wander round.

The church in the grounds was just a small country Church dating from the 1300s, with some nice early contents. The chap carved on a slab, above, was all in mail (i.e. chain armour) and was probably a crusader.  I told Sarah that he was the oldest chap in the church.

 A couple of minutes later Sarah called out "Daddy - I've found an earlier chap", and pointed out the bloke above. Had to admit she was almost certainly right.

Mikey  was very taken with the stained glass, which was really rather good (probably of early nineteenth century date I think).

We all liked Saint George above - we loved the nonchalant way he's dragging home a very dead dragon- obviously the day's bag.

Must go, Got to answer a 'phone call, and I'm told supper's ready.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


As today is my birthday we decided to go out to lunch, and chose one of the few local hostelries whose goodies we have not yet sampled : -

Hintlesham Hall, above. Looks pretty good at a distance, doesn't it? Immaculate, you might say.

Looks pretty good, too, in close up.   The lunch was, generally speaking, excellent. Well, the first two courses were, anyway. We've often noticed that pub meals seem to fall down on their puddings (that sounds slightly rude, but I'm sure that you'll know what I mean). In this case it wasn't the country pub meal that fell down on the sweet course, but a very well known local Country House Hotel. However coffee served in the lounge came in a cafetier, and was excellent.

Having said a bit back how immaculate the front of the building looked, I took a walk round the back of the building, and photographed some of the top floor (which really does need a bit of money spending on it).  However, I would guess that in the past these were servants' quarters, and are probably now staff bedrooms?  Not much changes, does it?

Earlier in the week we received an invitation to go to tea at three o'clock today, from our ninety year old friend Sylvia, which we accepted gladly. Yesterday evening we got a 'phone call from a mutual friend to say that Sylvia had been rushed into hospital, and to cancel the tea appointment. This afternoon we got home just after three o'clock to hear the 'phone ringing. It was Sylvia to say that yes, she had been rushed into hospital yesterday, but that she had jolly well rushed off out again at the earliest opportunity, and that tea was ready on the table waiting for us. This time it was our turn to rush off out, which we did, and had an excellent tea with Sylvia (and the mutual friend Sue, who'd popped in to see that Sylvia was up to this hectic social life). Before we left I did running repairs on Sylvia's Vienna Regulator clock, which, being German, sulks occasionally- and sorted it out for her. It's been a lovely day - who could ask for more from a birthday?......which hasn't ended yet.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014


                                                   Mystery Object.

About a fortnight ago I went along with the Collectors Branch of our local U3A to view a local auction, which has just moved its rooms into our area. I left a bid on the above oak item.At the auction  two days later  the hammer  fell at about half my bid, which is reassuring as it was a new auction room to me. It was also reassuring as I've known auctioneers who would have taken bids 'off the chandelier' until the top bid was reached. It indicates that we've got an honest man of principle on the rostrum.

          Can you suggest the date it was made,  where it was made, and for what purpose? Extra credit will go to any reader who can give the generic  name of the type of decoration on the item, which in this case will indicate the period of the piece.

Good guessing.

P.s. Sorry. Should have given you the size of the item. It is seventeen inches high, fourteen inches wide, and eight inches deep.

Monday, 22 September 2014


Thanks to a new card reader and a deal of good advice from daughter Nea, I am now able to put up photies relating to a Horner get-together in Cambridge a week last Saturday, and reported in my blog of Tuesday, 16th September. The above photo shows a few of us having a swift cuppa/snort (according to taste, but mainly cuppa) on the banks of the Cam at the Garden House Hotel, while waiting for the rest of the clan..

Above photo shows all the family embarking on their trip on the two punts in the middle of the picture. All, that is, bar three, who have made a daring escape and will be shown in the next picture.............(background music for Dick Barton, Special Agent, whom nobody now remembers, on the wireless).........

And as you can see Ann and I have made our escape from the rest of the family, taking with us our latest edition, great granddaughter, young Elsa, who is in the pushchair.

 Back at the hotel for tea, and still in charge of Elsa, who, by this time was a little tired and fretful.

This one was taken about six minutes later, showing Elsa, who, after two verses of 'Within the Cellar's Cool Domain' sung basso profundo by her maternal Great Grandfather direct into her tiny 'shell like', is now flat out.

                                          Hope this works. Nea should be watching out for it, and will, no doubt, report back.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


two items in this unillustrated blog entry.  The first is that I noticed this morning that a wild violet in a corner of the garden is again in flower - 21st September!!


The second is that although I'm not in a position to offer a Mystery Object, as I can't publish photos at the moment, here is a sort of verbal, or rather literary, mystery object for your perusal.

It is by Catherine Fanshawe, who lived from 1765 to 1834. It's not great poetry but I've always found it very neat verse. It's more of a conundrum than an enigma, but it's one that our grandparents would have recognised instantly. See if you can solve it  :-


'Twas whispered in Heaven, 'twas muttered in Hell,
And echo caught softly the sound as it fell:
In the confines of Earth 'twas permitted to rest,
And the depth of the ocean its presence confessed;
'Twas seen in the lightning, 'twas heard in the thunder,
'Twill be found in the spheres when they're riven asunder;
'twas given to man with his earliest breath,
It assists at his birth and attends him in death,
Presides o'er his happiness, honour, and health,
'Tis the prop of his house and the end of his wealth;
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crowned;
In the heaps of the miser 'tis hoarded with care,
but is sure to be lost in the prodigal heir;
Without it the soldier and sailor may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home;
In the whispers of conscience it there will be found,
Nor e'er in the whirlwind of passion be drowned;
It softens the heart, and though deaf to the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear;
But in shades let it rest, like an elegant flower,
Oh! breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour.


You should be able to work it out. You'll probably be aware of it (it's a real old chestnut).
If in doubt think Jane Austen's Emma.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


This is by way of being an experiment, suggested by Nea. The picture is of our High Street, and was taken ten days ago (i.e. the tenth of September). It seems to prove Nea's theory that the present problem regarding putting photos on my blog stems from a problem in the 'Universal Card Reader' that I use. It is, we think (and to use a technical expression) ' knackered'.   Nea has put a similar one(but, we trust, in better condition) in the post for me; so, if we're right, in a week or so, you may expect illustrated blog entries.  In the meantime, I shall continue to to use verbal only entries, with perhaps the occasional old photo.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014


My apologies for delay in blogging. Been hoping to be able to put photos up, but computer won't wear it at any price, so will have to be a verbal only (unillustrated) entry. Last Saturday drove over to Cambridge, calling at Railway Station to pick up Granddaughter Laura, then on to the River Cam, where a couple of punts were waiting for us (eighteen or so family). Ann and I didn't go on the river this year, as we'd agreed to take over the care of Great Grandaughter Elsa, while the family explored the river. Once they were embarked and under way we pushed Elsa (in the pushchair provided) to visit a friend of ours who keeps an antique shop opposite the FitzWilliam Museum main entrance. David spotted me and the pushchair on the pavement (Ann had paused to do a little necessary shopping) and popped out of his shop doorway to greet me and to admire the baby (he's a bit soppy about tiny babes, as am I) and asked who this new grandchild (?) was. "This is my Great Granddaughter" I told him. He sniggered and said something about even I wasn't old enough for great grandparent hood surely? So then I formally introduced him to Elsa and vice versa, so he had to believe me.  Ann arrived shortly afterwards and was duly congratulated by David. I bought one or two nice early bits of metal ware from him, and David said he was very pleased to see us as he wanted my opinion and assistance on a long case clock he's just bought. Would I step round to his house (he lives nearby) he asked? The shop was busy and he didn't really want to close it, so Ann (bless her) volunteered to mind the shop and his dog as well as Elsa whilst David and I nipped round to look at his clock. I was able to give it a good report, and eventually agreed to overhaul it for him. Then back to his shop, where Ann was busy enough to be glad of our return. Back to river just in time to greet the two boatloads of  family just arriving, and round to the Garden House Hotel for tea. A lovely afternoon. Took lots of photos, and a fat lot of good that'll do my readers, as I'm afraid you're all stuck with a written blog only, until I can persuade the thing back to its duties.

          Good night all.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


On Monday Ann and I met up with her brothers and their wives at the Fire Engine House in Ely. Coming into Ely from the Newmarket direction I finally managed to take a decent snapshot of the Cathedral through the car windscreen. 'Our Cathedral' (as we called it when young) was perfectly visible on the horizon from our village, although we were twelve miles north of it. In fact it was quite useful for weather forecasting purposes. When the Cathedral could clearly be seen we were told, by old fenman, that this meant that rain was on the way. If the cathedral could not be seen at all, it meant that it was already raining.  This is known as dry fenland humour, and as nearly everything else in the fen is usually wet or soggy, this meant that anything dry (perhaps especially the humour) was much appreciated.


Today we motored into Bury Saint Edmund's to meet up for lunch with her old friend (and next door neighbour - although in this case their two houses were about four hundred yards apart) Barbara and Barbara's husband Alan.  I don't know if anyone remembers this, but in the sixties and seventies everyone said that they were planning, when they  retired, to a Landrover and drive overland to India, or to.... convert a 'bus and drive to Morocco with a group of friends, or to - well generally to see the world, if you get the idea. Well, the only ones we ever knew who stuck to their plans are Barbara and Alan, photographed above on either side of Ann, at lunch in the Cathedral Refectory in Bury St. Edmund's. On retiring, fifteen years ago or so, Alan commuted part of his pension and bought a very good mobile home with the proceeds. Since then, every October, they lock their fixed home, climb aboard their mobile home, and head South. We tend to get exotic postcards from them during the winter. They return to their home, usually during April. This coming October they've planned to drive a long and complicated route down to the Greek islands. Barbara takes copious photos and keeps a journal as a record of their travels.  She plans, eventually, to precis and generally tidy it up, so that their grandchildren get a record of their grandparents' adventures.   I am lost in admiration, but as  Ann says, we've done what we wanted to do with our life, and so have Barbara and Allan.

After lunch we had a wander round Bury, and on Angel Hill the Angel Hotel was looking so bright and colourful, that I had to take the above photo of it.

                                          Good Night All.

Monday, 8 September 2014


This last week has been a very busy one, one way and another, and I have not had time to blog. However, on Saturday evening we relaxed and had friends in for supper. On these occasions Ann cooks, I sort out wines, drinks generally, hoover through, and then lay the table. Above photo shows table laid and ready.

 The above photo shows same table an hour or so later when we're lingering over cheese, port and coffee. It shows (left to right) Ann, Christian, Claire, Bryan and Rose. I like the modern habit of the ladies staying with us for at least a glass of port apiece.

Following morning, Sunday,  the weather was distinctly colder, so we dressed for the weather and took photos of each other in the garden. As you can see from the below photy, I considered that Sunday was the first day of distinctly 'weskit weather' so I'd dressed accordingly for morning service at Aldham Church at eleven a.m.    John Smith took the service, and concluded  the sermon by telling us of the man who sold his vacuum cleaner because it was only gathering dust !!!!!!!!!!


Today was Ann's 'sibling day' and we motored over to Ely and had our usual excellent lunch at the Fire Engine House.   Ann's just gone up to bed, so I'd better join her.

                                                           Goodnight All.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014


This lunchtime we decided to go to our favourite farm shop restaurant to eat, but when we got there it was crowded - not a parking place to be had on the car park - recently enlarged, and the restaurant was crowded anyway, we think because it's the last few days of the school holidays, so we motored on to Lindsey, a nearby village. There used to be two pubs there, the Red Rose (above) and the White Rose, which is now a private house. Although it was now nearly one o'clock the pub was very quiet (only one other customer when we went in). The barmaid said that she could serve us food, so we ordered, collected a drink and went and sat down in a window seat. We'd both ordered gammon, and greens, with a poached egg and chips, and when it arrived it was excellent.  After lunch we decided that we'd not looked at Milden Church for some years, so went to find it. It's only a mile or so from Lindsey, but we got ourselves rather lost in the  lanes.

This was no real problem because we were able to take the next few photos of Suffolk houses from the car windows.

Above is the Church we were looking for, and it was well worth the search. It is tiny, but feels bigger inside than looks possible from the outside.

Various interesting contents inside the church, mainly still in use. We both quite liked the look of this old chap/gentleman.
Got home about four p.m.  since when I've been pottering in the workshop and generally getting ready for the  Long Melford Antique Fair, which takes place tomorrow, and means a very early start,  So -
                                      Goodnight All.

Sunday, 31 August 2014


Most Sundays, as you know, we worship at Aldham Parish Church, but this morning the Benefice Holy Communion Service was held at Elmsett, so we motored over to Elmsett Church which is pictured above. It's a lovely looking old Church, of different periods from quite early Norman onwards. The trees to the left of the picture are looking very handsome, BUT.... on the last day of August, their green leaves are  already beginning to turn yellow.  Ann said that some of the yellow leaves were whirling past the church windows during the service.

Inside the Church, and right in front of us was the parish War Memorial, and I saw that on the part referring to the Second World War was something very interesting indeed. After the service, when we were all drinking coffee I went and had a good look at it. In the 1939 to 1945 lower section the Parishioners listed as having been killed in Elmsett by enemy action listed ten people - six women and four men, on May the 12th, 1941.     Our Aldham Churchwarden, Malcolm, came over and joined me. He told me that he was a boy at the  time and living in Elmsett Parish, and remembered it well. The parish main street was bombed in the early hours of that morning. Malcolm thought for a moment then said there was someone in the Church who would remember it even better than he, and went and fetched one of the lady choristers over. She remembered it well. She told me that five of those killed were all in the same family, and that they were relations of hers. She said that nobody ever seemed to know why the centre of a small Suffolk village was bombed, but that night and the day following obviously lived on (nightmarishly, I should think) in her memory.

It rather went to prove what I've always found - that Suffolk people have long memories.

Monday, 25 August 2014


                                          Mystery Object.

No mystery about this object. It's a box. It measures about three and a half inches by just over two inches by one and a quarter inches; therefore either a table snuff or a tobacco box. It has a silver escutcheon (blank), and a very complex hinge.
The questions are :-  When was it made, where was it made, and of what material was it made?

                                          Good guessing, and good night.


Published this photo, taken on Friday, of the North doorway of Uggleshall Church, mainly for the benefit of Crowbard, and in continuation of a discussion on 'comments'.  If you 'embiggen' this, Crowbard, I think it probably (neither of us being experts on early brickwork) indicates that the doorway is built of reused roman tiles (set edgeways) and bricks.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


On Friday we motored up to Southwold to the Saint Felix School Antique Fair. Bought one item, a late Georgian brass snuff box, with a combination lock in the lid. Work though to put it back in good order. Lunch with friends, followed by business, before we set out for home. Took a different way home, as there were very delaying roadworks in Blythburgh. Came home via a village I don't remember having visited before - Uggleshall.  If the original name was something like Uggle's Hall, makes me wonder who the original Uggle was? And if he deserved the rather horrible sounding name of Uggle; sounds like a big, hairy, ancient Brit, doesn't he?  The photos are all of Uggleshall Church, which certainly don't live up (or down?) to the name, as it's rather a pretty church. It is being rethatched, and a lovely job is being made of the  rethatching.

Suffolk, I'm glad to say,  is still full of  pleasant surprises.

Took this last one of Ann, who was delighted by this unexpected little Church.

Then back on the road and home via Blyford, Halesworth, Bramfield, and the A12.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Very quick blog entry tonight - Ann went up to bed five minutes ago, and I told her I wouldn't be long following her. Took a snapshot (above) of a very good salad that Ann made as part of supper. She used the standard  contents but jazzed it up  with diced red peppers, geraniums, chives and chive flowers. Delicious! Split it between us as a side dish. To my mind - the only dressing a good salad really needs is a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt.

                                                 Goodnight All.

Saturday, 16 August 2014


Realised it is a while since I showed a 'MYSTERY OBJECT'. Both of these photographs are mystery objects.   I think most of you will guess the purpose for which the above small box  was made. The point is - when do you think it was made, and most importantly
By the way, the inlaid stones in the lid are mother o' pearl and carnelian (I think).

Now this one really is a mystery object, and I must admit that I don't know the answer. I do know that it appears to be a piece chipped off a flint nodule a long time ago. It has then been decorated with a double line of dots and several lines cut into it, so that it resembles a beetle or 'scarab'. It is about one and three quarter inches long and just over an inch across. It came into my possession a good many years ago when I kicked it out of an ancient Suffolk trackway.     I would love to know where it was made and why. All (sensible) suggestions as to its origin gratefully received.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Once again - been a busy day. Got up early for 7.30 a.m service. Stayed and had a bite of breakfast (eleven people present). Later in the morning motored over to Manningtree, where we were due to meet a nephew- in- law off a train at midday to discuss...... family business. As he is a vegetarian, popped into town first to check the eating houses. Talked to the new landlord of the Crown Inn, who told us that he catered for vegetarians with a range of  four vegetarian main dishes. This seemed to give a  reasonable choice so nipped back out to the Railway Station and met Liam off the mid-day train. Back to the Crown which is a big, old fashioned country Inn. Manningtree is a small, narrow town on the south bank of the river Stour. Talked business over  a decentish lunch. We all three of us would have appeared, to a casual observer,  to have chosen the same dish (toad in the hole) but Liam's  had vegetarian sausages in it. I think we all enjoyed lunch. After lunch we ran Liam back to the station (trains run from Manningtree to London every half hour - the downside of this was that a recording of a lugubrious sounding lady kept announcing over the Tannoy that the eleven thirty train from Liverpool street was getting steadily later. It was now, she sighed, eighty four minutes late. She sounded as if she suspected that highwaymen had kidnapped it, and despaired of its ever being heard of again). I'm afraid we abandoned Liam to the mercies of our railway system (he seemed to have perfect confidence that he'd get back to London) and decided we were going to have a walk along the bank of the Stour, where we took today's two photographs.

Got home about four o'clock, had a quick zizz, changed into work clobber, and have been pottering about in the workshop ever since.

Good Night All.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


On Sunday morning last got up quite early, because I had a clock to deliver and set up in our area - the dial clock I illustrated on Saturday. After that returned home and loaded car, because I had a second clock (a Suffolk made long case) to deliver to son Jonathan and partner Jude, near Cambridge,where, after setting up said clock, we had lunch with them. Jude had made a very traditional Sunday lunch; she knows our tastes. She gave us roast beef and yorkshire pudding with all the trimmings (roast and boiled potatoes, etc.), followed by a fresh fruit summer salad, then coffee. At around three o'clock back in the car and drove across to the midlands where we spent a couple of days with my brother (who blogs as Crowbard) and his wife Judy. We'd packed a balancing game for their granddaughter. It's an old one that our children (and eventually our grandchildren) liked. The above photo shows niece Jessica, Crowbard, and great niece Lottie, playing the game. Lottie loved it, and was very good at it - it requires a very steady hand.

As there was a summer storm coming up, Jess and Lottie drove home at about six. Just before they hit the road, Crowbard and I serenaded them by singing 'Good Night Lottie' to the tune of 'Goodnight Ladies' and set  to improvised words. This appeared to please young Lottie (who is three) greatly!
Afterwards, and about halfway through supper's first course ( a roast leg of lamb) the storm suddenly brightened, and I thought that, given the weather conditions, there might well be a rainbow. I excused meself to Judy, and stepped outside. There was a complete and DOUBLE rainbow (shown above) - the best I'd seen in years. In the middle of a perfect meal (Jude is a great cook!!!) it made an already pretty good   evening into a magic one!

The following morning we went to see an old friend who lives quite near Crowbard and Jude. He is an antique dealer I've known for forty (or possibly fifty) years. He sometimes has antique guns in, and this time he offered me a Brown Bess musket in very good condition. The only drawback was the price (exorbitant is the word that springs to mind !) so although tempted, I eventually left the gun and bought four pieces of pewter. This morning we went to a new, and nearby, antique centre, but found nothing buyable, so went on to a nearby garden shop that Ann and Jude always like. Had a light lunch there, then back to Carl and Jude's. Packed the car, and drove home, arriving here just after five p.m.   Been a lovely break.  Being called upstairs to supper, so :-

                                     Goodnight All.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Been a good, busy day. This morning met up with four friends (Hilary, Ruth, Gloria and John) at our favourite farm shop for breakfast at 9a.m., which went on till just after eleven (lots of news to catch up on). It's becoming a very popular meeting place in our area - at least partly because the staff never try and hurry people!

Ann and I then went on to the Queen's head in a nearby village to a Birthday party being held by friends of ours, Barbara and Jim. It was Barbara's 65th birthday. Met a good many people we know, and a few new ones. We both thoroughly enjoyed the party.

Then home to put the finishing touches to a repair I did yesterday. It is a very large dial clock, the actual dial being eighteen inches in diameter. It's nice to think that later today it will be back in the building it's inhabited since it was made in about 1830 -40. It's very satisfying bringing a dead clock back to life, especially when the cause of the problem isn't too obvious. Had to strip the clock right down before I could see why it wasn't running. Got to go and arrange its re -instalment now.

P.s. Should have said the top two pictures are of corners of our garden. The middle picture shows, behind the urn, the fig tree I put in a couple of years ago. Today we picked this year's  first ripe figs from it. They were delicious!